Milo W. October 25, 2018
With the end of the current competitive season in sight, Riot Games has revealed plans for some big changes to League of Legends’ ranked system.
Riot uploaded a video to their YouTube page explaining that there were going to be significant adjustments to ranked play in 2019. This announcement comes after many complaints this year from the community about the state of the game, including Team Liquid bot laner Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng.
The first subject discussed was placement matches. Instead of receiving their rank after ten matches, players will now receive a provisional rank after their first game. During the placement period, players will gain increased league points and will not lose any in defeat, allowing the player to climb more quickly. Once the placement games are complete, players’ ranking will be finalized and they will begin their seasonal climb.
The developers next reviewed ranked tiers and divisions. Primus “Gortok” Majda, lead designer for ranked play, sympathized with players who feel trapped in “ELO hell”.
“It’s kinda like a ladder where some of the rungs are much farther apart than the others, and that’s a pretty hard ladder to climb,” Majda said.
To solve this, League of Legends will be adding two new tiers to spread out players more fairly. The first is Iron, a tier below bronze, and the second is Grandmaster, which fits between Master and Challenger.
Riot also declared they would be reducing the number of divisions in each tier from five to four in hopes of easing the burden of the ranked grind.
“So yes, that means next season there won’t be a single Bronze V player in all of League of Legends,” Majda said.
The matter of visual design was also examined. Thiago “Mango Thunder”, Riot Games Senior Visual Designer, stated that the development team wants to revamp the look of tiers to better demonstrate the unique aesthtic of Runeterra. Thiago also discussed having personalized emblems that reflect a player’s journey through ranked, but made clear the idea is under development.
These changes are set to be implemented during the 2019 preseason and will likely be adjusted through the preseason.